Tue, Nov 26, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Committee passes bill to regulate nation's holidays

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Statute of Memorial Days and Holidays (紀念日及節日實施條例), designed to guarantee employees certain days off, passed its first reading in the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

The Organic Laws and Statutes Committee passed the bill at first reading. The statute will be binding on employers and is intended to end years of argument about days off.

The bill, should it pass second and third readings in the coming weeks, is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1.

The changes will formalize the current practice on holidays, providing for 112 to 114 days off work per year, including 52 two-day weekends and eight to 10 national holidays annually. Time off during the week will no longer be given for holidays that fall on a weekend.

There are four national holidays: the Lunar New Year, Dragon Boat Festival, Moon Festival and Tomb Sweeping Day. The Lunar New Year is enshrined in the regulation as a four-day national holiday, but the remaining three national holidays are each one day.

The nation's nine Aboriginal groups will be entitled to one day off per year on a traditional Aboriginal holiday. The nine groups will make their own decision on which day to take off.

The new regulation also lists 11 memorial days, which require government departments and schools to hold memorial services but don't provide any days off, except on the anniversary of the founding of the ROC, Peace Memorial Day and Double Ten Day.

The 11 memorial days are to include Aboriginal Day on Aug. 1, the date in 1994 on which the National Assembly replaced the original term Shan-pa, or mountain compatriots, with the term yuan chu-min, or Aborigines, in the Constitution. The day was included as a memorial day at the insistence of the Council of Aboriginal Affairs yesterday.

The committee decided to to hold an inter-party negotiation on whether to list Retrocession Day -- which marks Taiwan's handover to Chinese rule in 1945 after half a century of Japanese occupation -- as a memorial day, before the second and third readings.

The issue sparked disputes at yesterday's meeting between legislators. PFP lawmakers Hwang Yih-jiao (黃義交) and Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) suggested that Retrocession Day be memorialized in Taiwan, but DPP lawmakers, including Lin Cho-shui (林濁水), argued that many Taiwanese were killed by Chinese on that day and the event should not be celebrated.

The legislature decided in 2000 to update holiday rules following a review of civil-service regulations.

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